How to Protect Yourself from Dangerous Dogs

Each year, almost five million people are bitten or attacked by dogs. Dog bites are a serious public health problem that can cause both physical and emotional damage to victims and considerable cost to communities, warns insurance company State Farm.

It paid more than $109 million as a result of the nearly 3,800 dog bite claims in 2011. The Insurance Information Institute estimates that in 2011, insurers across the U.S. paid nearly $479 million in dog bite claims.

A dog’s tendency to bite depends on such factors as heredity, obedience training, socialization, health, and the victim’s behavior. There are good dogs and bad dogs within every breed, just as there can be responsible and irresponsible owners of each breed.

State Farm does not refuse insurance based on the breed of dog a customer owns in any U.S. state. It says children and seniors are frequent victims of dog bites. In fact, more than half of all dog bite victims are children.

In addition to stressing responsible pet ownership, State Farm and American Humane Association encourage responsible behavior and caution around dogs, including family pets. Under the right circumstances, any dog might bite. So…

  • Never leave a baby or small child alone with a dog.
  • Be on the lookout for potentially dangerous situations.
  • Start teaching young children — including toddlers — to be careful around pets.
  • Children must be taught NOT to approach strange dogs.
  • Always ask permission from a dog’s owner before petting any dog.

For more information about dog bite prevention, visit the State Farm Learning Center or the American Humane Association website.

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Rakesh Raman